‘Medicine Man: The Stan Brock Story’ screening online across the US as part of RiverRun International Film Festival’s virtual lineup
The 96 minute documentary tells the story of one man’s mission to provide free healthcare to millions of Americans with nowhere else to turn.
Film Trailer: https://vimeo.com/448707955
Next week marks the beginning of Winston-Salem based Academy Award qualifying RiverRun International Film Festival. As part of this year’s primarily virtual edition, set to run May 6-16, award-winning feature length documentary “Medicine Man: The Stan Brock Story” will be available to stream online nationwide. The film, which follows the life and mission of free healthcare pioneer Stan Brock, has been nominated for the festival’s annual Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature.
British-born Brock, best known for his role as the star of “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” in the late 1960s, was also the founder of Remote Area Medical- RAM — a major nonprofit organization that operates free pop-up clinics delivering quality dental, vision, and medical care to underserved communities and under/uninsured individuals across the United States.
The idea for RAM originally came about in the 1950s when Brock was employed as a cowboy on the world’s largest cattle ranch, living in a remote Amazonian savanna amongst the native Wapishana people. After sustaining a life-threatening injury, Brock realized that he found himself stranded 26 days on foot from the nearest doctor. He made a promise in that moment that if he survived, he would make it his mission to deliver basic medical aid to people in the world’s most inaccessible regions.
However, fate intervened when Brock was discovered by American TV producers in the mid-1960s, and went on to star alongside Marlin Perkins in “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom”. Brock became one of the most recognizable faces on television, with 32 million weekly viewers tuning into “Wild Kingdom” at the height of its popularity, before going on to collaborate with Ivan Tors on several nature-themed action films and TV series throughout the 1970s and 80s.
In 1985, following a crisis of conscience, Brock made the decision to eschew fame and wealth and finally make good on his long-standing promise to the Wapishana people. He founded RAM with the aim of flying medical aid to remote communities around the world, and went on to carry out several successful volunteer-led medical relief missions across Latin America.
In 1992, Brock came to realize that the need in some of the rural communities surrounding the organization’s HQ in Knoxville, TN was just as great as it was in the most remote regions of the Amazon, with thousands of people having no access to healthcare. RAM subsequently held its first ‘expedition’ in the United States and has not stopped ever since, seeing demand increase nationwide over the years, and not just in rural areas. Today, Remote Area Medical finds itself being the healthcare provider of last resort for millions of Americans across the country, who have nowhere else to turn for help.
In light of recent hospital closures throughout North Carolina and a developing rural healthcare crisis, it is incredibly timely for this film to be screening online across the Old North State. The film’s producer, Vladimir V Daniel, commented, “I think a lot of people in the US do not realize just how desperate things are for many of their fellow citizens right now. The need has been increasing for quite some time, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the situation. Millions of people are being overlooked.”
RiverRun’s Program Manager, Mary Dossinger, added, “Being able to bring this incredible film about the vital importance of healthcare equity to our audiences was paramount in my mind when finalizing the program. We live in an area with a very robust healthcare system which is why it is even more critical to highlight the work of Stan Brock and Remote Area Medical, so audiences get a more complete picture of the growing healthcare crisis in this area and our country.”
RAM has been a provider of essential healthcare services across Appalachia since the 1990s, including in North Carolina, where the organization was also involved in disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Florence in 2018. To date, the major non-profit has operated more than 1,000 free pop-up clinics and provided more than 863,000 individuals with more than $174 million worth of free dental, vision and medical services delivered by over 172,000 volunteers.
The award-winning documentary feature, directed by British filmmaker Paul Michael Angell, has already shocked, angered, and inspired audiences from coast to coast at notable film festivals including DOC NYC, Cinequest, and Heartland. The film recounts Brock’s extraordinary life story, tracing his journey from anaconda-wrestling TV star to free healthcare provider of last resort for countless Americans, and offers a unique perspective on the US healthcare crisis as seen from the front lines.
Angell, who spent nearly a decade helming the production, stated, “Our only hope is that this film will show people what is really at stake when talking about healthcare provision. People need to realize that there are Americans out there who have no choice but to camp out in parking lots overnight to get their teeth pulled in sports halls and fairgrounds. This happens every weekend, all across the United States. Healthcare is fundamentally a human issue and should not be treated as a political football. That was always central to Stan Brock’s beliefs, and I hope that is people’s key takeaway after seeing this film.”
“Medicine Man: The Stan Brock Story” will be screening virtually at RiverRun International Film Festival May 7-9, 2021. To purchase online screening tickets, head to riverrunfilm.com/film/medicine-man.
About Medicine Man: The Stan Brock Story: A feature-length documentary about the incredible life of British-born Amazonian cowboy turned US TV star, Stan Brock, who sacrificed everything for his unwavering mission to unite a nation and resolve the US healthcare crisis. Over 8 years in the making, this debut feature film by Paul Michael Angell is at once a heart-warming tribute to the unifying power of volunteerism, and an exploration of a perennial outsider’s search for meaning through giving of himself. The film has been screened coast to coast at notable festivals including DOC NYC, Cinequest, and Heartland, and has recently won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. To view a trailer and learn more visit medicinemanstanbrock.com.